Twas the Night Before Christmas has always been a prime target of satire. Everyone is familiar with it, it’s incredibly corny, and the poem is constructed in such a simple way that – let’s face it – any yahoo can copy the style. For wise asses, it’s the Holy Grail.
That’s not to say there are a lot of funny Twas the Night Before Christmas parodies out there, however. In fact, I daresay most of them… ah… er… kinda suck. But here are five that I’ve found that definitely don’t suck. These books are great as gag gifts, stocking stuffers, or just an antidote to the relentless sentimentality of the holiday season.
1. The Zombie Night Before Christmas
He was chubby and plump,
a right jolly old elf,
And I chomped when I saw him,
in spite of myself
What list of, well, anything would be complete without zombies? This macabre version of the Christmas classic has Santa ho-ho-hoing his way into the middle of a zombie outbreak. Read this to the kiddies on Christmas Eve, and they won’t be able to sleep a wink (and not because they’re excited to open their presents). While not suitable for children, this illustrated book makes a funny gift for adult zombie lovers.
2. Twas the Night Before Christmas 21st Century Edition
The workers grew grim
as they churlishly chored,
While Santa grew haplessly,
The Night Before Christmas was published as A Visit from St. Nicholas back in 1823, and has been repeatedly updated to reflect changes in the English language. But what about changes in our culture? Authors Bruce Kluger and David Slavin give the sickeningly quaint story a much-needed makeover, featuring corporate malfeasance, labor strife, and our hyperactive modern media.
3. Cajun Night Before Christmas
To de top o’ de porch,
to de top o’ de wall,
Make crawl, alligator,
an’ be sho’ you don’ fall
You don’t have to be Cajun to enjoy reading this version straight from the Bayou. In it, swamp Santa arrives in a skiff pulled by gators that clamber onto the roof. This is the most popular title in The Night Before Christmas Series, which also includes versions of the story told from the perspective of different professions (teachers, nurses, etc).
4. The Soldiers’ Night Before Christmas
The soldiers were sleeping,
and snoring away
As they dreamed of ‘back home’
on good Christmas Day
While the other books on this list are mostly for the amusement of adults, this one is aimed squarely at kids – specifically the children of a parent deployed overseas. In this version, Sergeant McClaus (the Santa of Soldiers) visits a military barracks in the Middle East. Kids will be happy to know that even if Mom or Dad is half a world away, they won’t miss out on presents. Booya!
5. Twas the F**king Night Before Christmas
The children had the night,
to put off going to sleep
The parents had a damn long list
of promises to keep
This satirical version of The Night Before Christmas is good therapy for parents as they struggle to cope with the hectic holiday season. Grab a stiff drink and read it after the kids are asleep and the work is (finally) all done. Just don’t plan on reading it to youngsters. It’s not just laced with profanity, but also cynicism.